Jessie: I met Linda Reilly some years ago at the Malice Domestic conference. She was preparing for the release of her first mystery and was full of infectious enthusiasm for writing and for the sometimes surprising world of publishing. It is with great pleasure that I welcome her to visit with the Wickeds today!
A big thank you to Jessie Crockett and the fabulous Wickeds—Liz, Barb, Edith, Julie, and Sherry— for inviting me here today!
Funny thing is, I’m still not sure how I got here. Like most writers, I loved making up stories as a kid. If I wasn’t putting them down on paper, I was dreaming them up in my head. I was in sixth grade when my teacher gave us a list of vocabulary words and told the class to use all of them in a story. Back then, cowboy shows ruled prime time, so I used the words in a cowboy story and turned it in. The teacher waited until the end of the school year to read each story aloud to the class—talk about dragging out the suspense! I was elated when my name was announced as the winner.
It wasn’t long after that when a neighbor introduced me to Agatha Christie. Her name was Helen, and she lived a few doors away from ours. I don’t remember why I stopped in to visit her that hot summer day (probably to get out of the heat), but there was Helen sitting on her screened-in porch, reading from a paperback mystery. She told me how she loved Agatha Christie, and then lent me a few of her books. At the time, I was still devouring all the Nancy Drews I could get my hands on. But after that day something changed. Agatha Christie became my new heroine, and I couldn’t read her books fast enough. How did she write such intriguing mysteries? Where did she get her ideas? How did she know so much about poisons and other deadly devices?
I’ve since decided that the universe was already working its magic that day, setting things in place, preparing me to write mysteries. And yet, decades would elapse before I got serious about it. In 1994, I began writing short mysteries and submitting them to Woman’s World. Several were rejected. Then one day a different-looking envelope came in the mail. It wasn’t the self-addressed envelope I’d been sending with my submissions. It was an envelope (gulp!) from Woman’s World, with my first acceptance for publication.
So that’s how it started, and how I ended up here. In between, I toyed with writing psychological suspense. Then in 2008 I read an unforgettable cozy, triggering the memory of those charming Christie mysteries. I knew that’s what I wanted to write. I can’t help wondering if things might have been different if Helen had never introduced me to Agatha Christie on that lazy summer day. Would I have discovered her books on my own? Would I be a cozy writer today? Only the universe knows.
Writing the Deep Fried mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime has been an absolute blast. And I have to confess: A FRYING SHAME, which is being released today, is my favorite of the three. Once again, restaurateur Talia Marby is up to her eyeballs in sizzling hot oil—not to mention murder. And if she doesn’t figure out who killed the winner of the Steeltop Foods contest, the wrong chef is going to be sent off to prison, wearing that dreadful shade of orange.
I’m thrilled to reveal that I have a new series debuting late this year. In December, Kensington’s Lyrical Press will be releasing ESCAPE CLAWS, my first Cat Lady mystery, in e-format with a print-on-demand option.
Readers, I have to ask you: Have you ever experienced a moment in your life that you believe changed your path forever? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! I’m pleased to give away a signed copy of A FRYING SHAME to one commenter.
Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, Linda lives in southern New Hampshire, where she loves solving mysteries of the cozy type. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library hunting for a new adventure. Visit Linda online at www.lindasreilly.com or at http://www.facebook.com/Lindasreillyauthor
Welcome, Linda – and congratulations on the both the new book and the new series! I’m delighted for you. (Linda drove quite a distance to see me at one of my first B&N meet and greet events a few years ago, and I was touched.) What a great thing your neighbor did for you.
For me, I might have mentioned here that when I was about eight and writing made-up stories all over the place, my mother said, “Edie, you’re a good writer.” I believed her and have kept those simple words of praise close to my heart ever since.
Thanks for the welcome, Edith. How sweet that those simple kind words from your mom inspired you in such a profound way.
Congratulations on the your book release today and your new series Linda.
As for a moment that changed my life…that would be attending my first Malice Domestic conference.
Thanks for stopping by, Dru Ann! Malice Domestic is a wonderful conference.
The death of my sister changed the way I viewed life for the longest time and I veered of course. I’m sure if she were still alive today my life would be different. I look forward to reading this book, love the series.
That’s a huge veer, Taryn. What a tough thing to happen.
Taryn, I’m so sorry to hear of your sister’s death. Losing those we love so dearly changes us in ways we can’t even imagine. Thank you for sharing your story.
In college I was given the opportunity to get 60% of my last year’s tuition paid if I went into special education as my major. That led to 30 years as a special education elementary school teacher!
Linda, that really was a life changing event! You were meant to be a special education teacher. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for offering this!
I attended a college 1800 miles from home. I wrote a letter home once because I was so very homesick and tried to put a twist on it to keep my family entertained. My older sister commented on the letter telling me the my family really enjoyed reading it. From her comment I thought perhaps I could be a writer. (still in baby steps on that)
Paula, I love this story. I can empathize, too. When I first went off to college only 120 miles from home, I was desperately homesick. Keep on writing those twisty tales–from baby steps to published writer!
Welcome, Linda! My path was from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie as well!
Hi Barb! I can’t even imagine my childhood without Nancy Drew or the discovery of Agatha Christie. They’ve made my life so much richer.
I was called up for grand jury duty and heard fraud cases for once a week for two years. One of our expert witnesses was a FBI agent who was also a CPA- and after grilling the agent in the elevator one afternoon, I knew I had found a whole new career. Ten years later, after going back to school and earning my CPA, I run the internal audit department of a billion dollar a year retailer. As a certified math-hater, I never could have imagined ending up in this profession!
Jacqueline, what a fabulous story! It’s so intriguing to realize that a chance encounter in the elevator was the catalyst for your seeking out such a satisfying career. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for the insights.
Thank you for visiting, Kathleen. Good luck in the giveaway!
Congratulations Linda! I started with Nancy Drew and then read Phyllis Whitney. I can’t say that I remember a certain moment, but I loved reading as a child and I was able to pass that love onto my children and grandchildren. I have introduced my granddaughters to Nancy Drew and am happily building their collection.
Thanks for stopping by, Cecilia. I know people who never read, and I can’t imagine how they get through their days without going crazy. How wonderful that you instilled your love of reading in your children and grandkids.
Congratulations on your new book, it sounds great, love the cover.
Thank you for stopping by with a comment, Penney. I’m glad you like the cover! Good luck in the giveaway!
Welcome, Linda and congratulations on the new series. I love the title. I have said many, many (maybe too many) times that meeting Julie Hennrikus was a game changer. I never read a lot of Agatha Christie books. I went from Nancy Drew to Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. I just realized it’s probably why I like a bit of romance with my mysteries.
Thank you, Sherry, and what a lovely compliment to Julie, another terrific cozy writer! I remember reading my first Mary Stewart in high school, and how the identity of the killer came as such a shock!
Great interview! It’s funny how so many of us mystery lovers got hooked thanks to Nancy Drew series & author Agatha Christie. My older sisters had the Nancy Drew & Trixie Beldon books. At least 3 different people leant me the Christie books. My mystery book obsession took hold when I went to a 3 author book signing at the former Booked For Murder store.
Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. Those independent book stores are wonderful, and it’s so sad to see them dwindling. I would have loved a store called Booked for Murder! Good luck in the giveaway.
I love wicked cozies!
Thanks for stopping by, Kathy — and good luck in the giveaway!
Great interview. I can’t wait to read this book.
Thanks, Katrina! Best of luck in the giveaway.
Congratulations on the book and the new series!
For me, it was definitely going into my first Sisters in Crime meeting, clutching that first manuscript. Who knew I’d end up here?
Sisters In Crime has been the spark that ignited so many mystery writers’ careers! Thanks for stopping by, Liz ~
Congrats on the new book and the new series coming late this year!
It’s always interesting to think about those little moments that wind up changing our lives. Like the year and a half I spent in a temp job that prepared me for the job I have now.
(I already have the book, so don’t enter me in the drawing.)
Thanks, Mark. That temp job prepared you for the job you were meant to have!
In the late 70’s I was teaching 3rd grade in rural Kentucky. There was a fuel crisis and many families moved closer to the cities where they worked. I lost my job. We owned some property in the UP of Michigan, so we moved up here, and I’m so glad we did! Congrats on the new book, Linda!
Thanks, Barb, for sharing your personal story. It’s a good example of one door closing, but a better one opening! Good luck in the giveaway ~
Yes, I have experienced something that changed my life in many ways and being too personal to share, I will say that this is with me daily.
Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia. Those things that are too personal to share will always be in your heart. Best of luck in the giveaway.
My comment was posted before I finished it but I wanted to tell you that i loved the article today. I love learning something about the authors that I read as I did in this list. Thank you.
Thank you again, Cynthia. That means a lot to me, since I often think of myself as the most boring person on the planet!
the moment that actually changed my life was not a pleasant one, it was actually filing for divorce. I went on to complete my education and have a rewarding life with my son and a career that I loved.
So often that is the case, Bobbi. I’m grateful to know that you went on to have a better and fulfilling life after the divorce. Best of luck in the giveaway!
What totally changed my life was when I lost my job and my husband found himself severely under-employed. We two kids going to college part time on loans, and our prospects were looking pretty dim. It was at this point, at the age of 45, that I filled out out applications for college admission and student loans and not only finished my last two years of college at UNH, but also attended grad school, and have been teaching college English ever since. Today I still teach for three different schools online, and love what I do. Sometimes you need to feel you have nothing left to lose to push forward.
Tina, I can’t imagine the courage it took to follow your path to a higher education when everything else seemed to be working against you. You’re an inspiration. Good luck in the giveaway ~
The miscarriage of our first child changed my life. Being 30 years old and married not quite a year my husband and I were over the moon to think we would have a little bundle to celebrate our 1st Christmas with. Three months into the pregnancy I started spotting while I was at work. By the time I got to my ob/gyn and admitted into the hospital our baby was gone. This event changed my attitude of being a wife and mother with my priorities being aligned with them as top priority. God blessed my husband and I with two beautiful children that we have devoted our time and energy to making their lives as good as we could.
I’m so sorry about your miscarriage. I know it had to be a heartbreaking time for both you and your husband. How lucky your children are now to have you as parents! Thanks for sharing your story.
For me it was probably the decision NOT to let my late husband’s alcoholism define my life. I would be in much better shape today had he made wiser choices, but there is more to life than attending AlAnon meetings, however helpful they are when the diagnosis first becomes clear. Adding you to the list of authors to explore if I ever finish reading through the backlog (however free copies and ARCs go to the top of the stack and do get reviewed briefly in Goodreads and Amazon), hint, hint).
Thank you for sharing this, Barbara. Wishing you luck in the giveaway ~
Loved the interview. The moment that changed my life was when I remarried my husband after being divorced for a year and a half. We are celebrating 34 years this April.
Deana, what a lovely story. True love prevailed, in a wonderful and enduring way! Thanks for sharing your story . . . and happy upcoming anniversary!
Many years ago, I was in a very leaky, overcrowded small boat at night on a 900 foot deep lake. There were no life jackets and we couldn’t see the shore. And I’m a very poor swimmer. There were no lights and the gas line kept coming unattached. I realized there was a fair chance of drowning that night. Instead of panicking, which would have done no good, I decided to enjoy the incredibly beautiful starry night. If this was going to be the last thing I ever saw on this earth, what a way to go! My whole outlook on life changed forever. Since then I consciously enjoy every pleasure no matter how small. I live a very joyous life.
Congrats on the publication of the third in the series and on the new series. What fun.
Ginny, I absolutely love this story. Your courage and positive attitude taught you so much that fateful night. Thanks for sharing, and good luck in the giveaway ~
There have been several decisions that have made changes in the direction of my life. Some were the right decisions. A few were wrong. But, that’s life. The safe choice is not always the best one.
Elaine, you’re so right. But I think that we learn from every decision we make, whether the results turn out well or not so great. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the giveaway ~
I always love seeing how writers have gotten their start. As for me I would have to say that the most life changing event was when we found out that my husband’s cancer had come back. It was not something that we ever saw happening (though we found out later that the type of brain cancer he has always comes back). We are currently waiting to see what will happen now that his treatment options have run out. Having to raise two young kids makes it that much worse.
Brittany, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I will be thinking of you and including you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.
Love reading this and having you here on the Wickeds. I love your books and this one is also my favorite. I can think of so many different things that changed my path, my life, who I am. Each little thing made it’s own impact. I think the last big thing was after I was diagnosed with m/s, lost my job (not related and kind of related at the same time), lost my home and moved back in with my parents and my older brother and his wife. I realized that I didn’t need all the stuff that cluttered my life. It has truly been an amazing blessing and I would not change one thing of that or any other thing that has happened. I am happier than I have ever been and love each day. Also since being back home a friend told me about these mystery books about cooking and baking. She gave me a few titles. That was my introduction to cozies and I havent turned back. I am one of those rare people who never read Nancy Drew nor Agatha Christie (love the BBC shows though, lol)
No need to enter me in the contest! I have my copy and sent another copy to a friend!
Congrats on your book release and the new series
Congrats on your new release, Linda. The thing that changed my life was going through my divorce. At the time i thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but in the end it was one of the best things that happened to me. It made me realize how strong and resilient I can be and that I can accomplish whatever I want in life.
I went to a party through mutual friend and met my hubby. Had I not gone I never would have met him. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com
Meeting my husband and now have two amazing kids! parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com
Congratulations, Linda, on your latest release. That’s so exciting.
The event that changed my life was staying up late on a work night (something that I didn’t usually do) and watching the movie “Skirts Ahoy” about the Navy WAVES. It just struck a cord, and I found myself shortly thereafter at the Navy Recruiting Station investigating the possibility of joining the Navy. Two months later, I reported to Naval training, and the rest was history. I found myself traveling the world and living in England where I met my husband. You just never know what event can change your life–even an old movie.
Yes, I was unable to have children and I gave it totally to the Lord. One month later I was pregnant. The Dr. said it was a miracle and we know it was too!
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